A by-election is taking place in Cork this Friday: Here is what you need to know

A by-election is taking place in Cork this Friday: Here is what you need to know
Election posters for the Cork North Central by-election have begun appearing. The election date is Friday November 29.

Voters in the Cork North Central constituency will go to the polls on Friday to vote in a by-election to elect a TD to replace Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher.

Kelleher was elected to the European Parliament in May. He had been a TD for Cork North Central for more than 20 years.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar listens to a man at Blackpool Shopping Centre where he was canvassing with the Fine Gael candidate Colm Burke. Pic: Larry Cummins.
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar listens to a man at Blackpool Shopping Centre where he was canvassing with the Fine Gael candidate Colm Burke. Pic: Larry Cummins.

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1997 general election, having been unsuccessful in 1992 and in the 1994 by-election, and retained his seat in the 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2016 general elections.

Fianna Fáil has always been represented in the constituency since it came into being in 1981 when it was a five-seater. 

Since 2007 it’s been a four-seater, with Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy, Solidarity’s Mick Barry, and Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien the other three current sitting TDs.

Where is the constituency?

The constituency is perhaps one of the most unique in the country - it stretches from parts of Bishopstown, the city centre and the north bank of the River Lee in Cork city, up through inner-city areas like Knocknaheeny, Gurranabraher, Mayfield, Blackpool, out to the suburbs of Cork city such as areas like Glanmire and Blarney. 

Fianna Fál by-election candidate Padraig O'Sullivan canvassing with supporters in Glanmire. Pic: Larry Cummins
Fianna Fál by-election candidate Padraig O'Sullivan canvassing with supporters in Glanmire. Pic: Larry Cummins

It stretches to the more rural areas outside of those, to include places like Glounthaune and Whitechurch, and reaches as far north as Grenagh and Donoughmore, and even to the outskirts of Mallow town.

Who is running in the Cork North Central constituency?

There are twelve candidates declared to run in Cork North Central. They are: 

What is turnout expected to be?

According to the 2016 census data, the population of the area was 124,836, making 31,209 the population per TD. The electorate in the 2016 General Election was 81,609, with voter turnout at 63.3% or 51,690 people.

However, traditionally the voter turnout in by-elections is low. 

It’s often either seen by voters as a way of sending a message to the Government they might not send during a General Election or often people can’t or don’t make time to go out to vote on a single seat.

Green Party candidate Oliver Moran on Mary Elmes Bridge. Pic; Larry Cummins.
Green Party candidate Oliver Moran on Mary Elmes Bridge. Pic; Larry Cummins.

Generally, voter turnout is also based on a number of key demographic and socio-economic factors. Lower turnout is usually associated with urban-based employment, local authority housing, and low levels of political mobilisation. 

Meanwhile higher turnout is often based on residential stability, rural-based employment and high levels of education.

When will we know who’s been elected?

The results should be known by the evening of Saturday, November 30, following the count in Nemo Rangers GAA club.

Are there other by-elections happening around the country?

There are three other by-elections happening across the country on Friday. These are in Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid West and Wexford to replace the other newly elected MEPs Clare Daly, Frances Fitzgerald and Mick Wallace.

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